Ken Griffin, billionaire CEO of hedge fund Citadel, paid $43.2 million for a first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution at a Sotheby’s auction on Thursday, outbidding a group of cryptocurrency investors.
The amount more than doubles its $20 million high estimate, setting a world auction record for any book, manuscript, historical document, or printed text, according to Sotheby’s.
A band of more than 17,000 crypto enthusiasts, identified as ConstitutionDAO, had crowdfunded more than $40 million via social media earlier this week in a bid to win the auction. Sotheby’s said it was the largest crowdfunding initiative ever put together.
The group lost the bid to Griffin in an eight-minute bidding battle on the telephones, Sotheby’s said.
Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel.
E. Jason Wambsgans | Tribune News Service | Getty Images
Griffin intends to lend the piece to a free Arkansas art museum, a Citadel spokesperson said.
“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be,” Griffin said in a statement. “That is why I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces.”
This printing of the Constitution was last sold at auction for $165,000 in 1988 to S. Howard Goldman, the now-late husband of philanthropist Dorothy Tapper Goldman.
This is one of just 13 known copies of the official printing produced for the delegates to Constitutional Convention and for the Continental Congress, and only two copies of the first printing of the Constitution that remains in private hands.